That kind of integration from supplier to plant to customer has been going on for a few years now in automation and control. It drives the IT folks nuts, since the network now goes beyond the plant, bringing up security issues. When you bring in your suppliers, you have strangers on your network.
Good point, Rob. We tend to stay so focused on the engineering aspects and CAD interoperability has been a huge challenge for such a long time. But going a step beyond and integrating production and manufacturing is a big step in terms of tying the overall organization together around product development as well as a means of creating efficiencies, not to mention, closer ties to suppliers.
Using Elysium's technology, Renault Sport F1 has created a supplier portal that integrates with its ERP system and product data management system and allows suppliers using different CAD programs to exchange data and models quickly and accurately without manual translation or cleanup on Renault's end.
That's impressive on a number of levels. That's a bunch of integration and collaboration. I can see that CAD interoperability is a step forward here, but it looks like Renault has already taken big steps to integrate its suppliers.
Altair has released an update of its HyperWorks computer-aided engineering simulation suite that includes new features focusing on four key areas of product design: performance optimization, lightweight design, lead-time reduction, and new technologies.
At IMTS last week, Stratasys introduced two new multi-materials PolyJet 3D printers, plus a new UV-resistant material for its FDM production 3D printers. They can be used in making jigs and fixtures, as well as prototypes and small runs of production parts.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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